While still very much with us, Covid-19 is no longer top of mind. What is top of mind is George Floyd, and the many “George Floyds” before him. The horrific event in Minneapolis has brought to the forefront racial issues that have been simmering for years, if not centuries, and has revealed a depth of suffering that many of us born into privilege, busy with our lives and our work, did not appreciate.
Or chose not to appreciate. Pastor and writer Paul Raushenbush looked at a familiar word and, for the first time, understood it differently. The word was “ignorance.” When he looked at it closely, he saw two constituent parts, and the word became ignore-ance:
“It was as if I had never heard or read the word before. Ignorance has always seemed to me to be a passive condition – oh well, it’s just ignorance, it’s not my fault – I just haven’t had a chance to learn that yet. And knowledge, if it is to come at all, is something to be bequeathed by one to another, always eagerly given and graciously accepted. However, what if ignorance is not so neutral? What if ignore-ance is an active and intentional stance towards the world which censors that which is inconvenient or uncomfortable? Ignore-ance, in that case, either consciously or unconsciously, judges what is or is not worth knowing and acts accordingly.”
We are business authors and speakers. Our focus is help young professionals with their career. Admittedly, we are off topic here. Others can certainly write with more eloquence and authenticity about the oppression of people of color than we can. But no matter what one’s line of work, or skin color, the subjugation, the disenfranchisement, the injustice, in this country is too great to ignore.
And ignore-ance is no longer possible for any of us.
Notes and sources: Paul Raushenbush quote from sermon by Reverend Robert Dunham, entitled Ignore at Your Peril, University Presbyterian Church, Chapel Hill, NC, September 29, 2013.
Due to current events in this country, and specifically out of respect to protests related to Mr. George Floyd and the many others similarly situated, we will delay our next zoominar until Friday, June 19 at 12:15 pm. We appreciate that any business-related topic pales in significance to that of Black Lives Matter. The LOA! team